Research Paper on Karl Marx Theory of Classes
One of Karl Marx’s interests in the social structure was about the social classes. He believed that there are two major classes in the society; the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie also known as the “ruling class” are those who own the means of production while the proletariat known for being the “working class” are those who work for the bourgeoisie. Marx argued that social classes arise due to the existing acts of production. For him, classes emerge due to the relationship in production. The bourgeoisie are the class that owns and controls all the means of production. They own the capital, machines and all the raw materials. On the other hand, the proletariat own nothing. They do not have the resources, all they have were their skills or labor that they offer to the bourgeoisie to make a living. Classes were then “reified” by people wherein the classes had already come to life and limit the actors.
This distinction between classes resulted in the social or power relations between the two. Marx argues that social class is the basic unit of centralized power. The two opposing classes, the bourgeoisie who owns the means of the production on one side and whose goal is to continuously pursue personal gain in expense of the other class, and the proletariat who are systemically exploited and alienated on the other will clash and be in conflict over power. While the bourgeoisies continue take advantage of the proletariats and exploit them, proletariats will struggle to change the working conditions and their low wages. They will try to overthrow the ruling class. These two classes, due to their conflict of interest, would eventually come into contact and comprise the class struggle that would ignite social upheavals, thus, changing the society.
Understanding the relationship of classes in the society is fundamental in understanding the capitalist system and other social systems. The concept of class is significant in politics and economics because as a group of people who shares more or less similar experiences and economic situations, has the potential to be a political force in tracing the processes of these systems. In short, the class as shaped by economic condition strengthens the idea that economic power begets political power which is significant in sourcing out origin of power in the social, political and economic arena.
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